It has been five years since we last heard from Mississippi rap duo Rae Sremmurd. They graced our ears in 2018 with their triple album SR3MM, which included the solo debuts of Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi in Swaecation and Jxmtro. After a few Christmas singles that same year, we did not hear from them until May 2022, when they started teasing their fourth album.
Shortly after this announcement, we got our first taste of the new Rae Sremmurd in the single “Denial.” This song, “Community D**k” with Flo Milli and “Sucka or Sum” are absent from the album, potentially because they did not make too much noise in the lead-up to the project. However, neither did the singles that made the cut: “Torpedo” and “Tanisha (Pump That).” This is odd for the two, considering they have always had at least one hit for each album. Hopefully, this is not telling for the album to come.
1. “Origami (Hotties)”
Starting the tracklist, we have our first of many parenthetical song titles, “Origami (Hotties).” With the long wait and underwhelming singles, we’d at least start strong, right? Not in this case. The song breezes by without leaving much impact. To be fair, this song is not bad per se; it just exists. The boys spit some basic bars about the girls they keep around them with a lackluster hook over some of Mike WiLL’s blander production.
2. “Royal Flush” w/ Young Thug
Next, we get a banger with frequent collaborator Young Thug on “Royal Flush.” The track starts off promising with this funky horn loop throughout the instrumental. We can thank Chopsquad DJ for that contribution; his producer tag does not lie. Another standout on this track is the performance from Thugger himself. Young Thug has endless charisma and flow, so finding a bad verse from him is not easy. Slim Jxmmi’s verse is not awful either, as he keeps the energy up. However, there is a bit of awkwardness about how his verse and Swae Lee’s hook end. Typically, these guys kill it on hooks, but now we’re 0 for 2. At least the rest of it is fun.
3. “Mississippi Slide”
I regret to inform you that the duo is now 0 for 3 with the hooks on “Mississippi Slide.” It is way too clumsy with Swae Lee attempting to spell out ‘Mississippi’ while also making it flow well. It simply does not work and ruins any momentum the song had, which wasn’t much, to begin with. Swae Lee’s verse is not much to write home about. It is the typical brand name and rich flexing you would hear on any Sremm song. Once again, Slim Jxmmi’s verse is not too bad. However, he has a few questionable lines. Namely, his second poop bar on this record with “took a s**t on all my haters, still got toilet paper.” Let’s hope this does not become a thing.
4. “Not So Bad (Leans Gone Cold)”
The duo switches it up on the fourth track, “Not So Bad (Leans Gone Cold),” by tapping into their emotional side. This cut is supposed to be the boys lamenting that despite their success, they still feel depressed and cover it up with drugs and money. This is quite respectable and would be a nice change of pace for the record. I hate to say this, but it is the worst song yet. The instrumental is a fairly bland drill beat, an interesting choice for an emotional song. They also decide to interpolate the Dido song “Thank You” in the chorus, which is mixed to hell. It sounds like Swae Lee recorded it in a hallway. I understand what they were going for and respect the attempt, but this song is not working for me.
5. “Tanisha (Pump That)”
“Tanisha (Pump That)” was the most recent single for the album, released on March 10 alongside a music video. The last song was a lot, but fortunately, this one is a return to normalcy. It is a fun dance cut that you would typically expect from Rae Sremmurd. I wish the song had more energy; however, I cannot complain too much. This hook is probably the best yet, although it still is relatively lackluster with its constant repeating of “pump that, pump that, pump that.” Not to mention both of the boys have serviceable verses. I hope we can get more tracks like this and “Royal Flush.”
6. “Bend Ya Knees”
At the very least, “Bend Ya Knees” is another straightforward rump-shaking anthem. However, I find this song rather annoying. The part that irks me the most has to be the beat. Murda Beatz decides to play the same single piano note loop over and over throughout the whole track. It gets pretty obnoxious after nearly 3 minutes. Also, hearing Swae Lee repetitively say, “Bend ya knees,” induces a headache afterward.
7. “Activate” w/ Future
Good news, everybody: we have another winner with track seven, “Activate,” featuring Future. I felt bad after being so negative for so many tracks; however, I do not have to do that for this one. I genuinely enjoy this song. Swae Lee has his first good hook of the project, both boys serve pretty good verses, and the beat reminds me of SR3MM in the best way possible. However, it still has its issues. Future decided to rhyme “activated” with itself for the first part of his verse but stops doing it after a while. Also, this song could use being a minute or so shorter. It does not need to be five minutes long. Other than that, I am rocking with it.
8.” Flaunt It/Cheap”
“Flaunt It/Cheap” is a conflicting song for me. I enjoy the first part, “Flaunt It.” This part of the song has a fantastic energetic beat that sounds like a throwback to 2000s club bangers. Slim Jxmmi keeps that energy up and delivers his best verse so far. On the other hand, the “Cheap” part of the song is not as good. The beat on “Cheap” does not compare to the first part. The percussion has a similar flow to it, but an obnoxious droning noise is present the whole time. Neither verse is as good in this section either. I wish it were just the “Flaunt It” part. That part is my favorite song on the album so far and is only a quarter of the runtime for the song. At least we got a bit of “Flaunt It” while it lasted.
On “Sexy,” we get another fun throwback slapper similar to “Flaunt It.” The liveliness of this song is too infectious for me to hate it. Everyone involved sounded like they were having genuine fun in the studio. It bleeds over into your ears as well. This song and “Flaunt It” make me wish the boys leaned into this high-tempo throwback energy throughout this record. Slim Jxmmi’s taking the reigns for the hook was a good idea. The only real gripe I have with this song is the outro is a bit grating. Other than that, I highly recommend it.
We have another return to form on the tenth track, “YMCA.” This song is another simple trap song. It is nice enough, as producer Melz gives us an uncomplicated beat with a neat synth line on the chorus. Swae Lee’s hook is suitable and not as bad as the ones we have seen. However, it does not compare to past hooks. I do not mean for this song’s review to be so humdrum and passive. But the problem is this song is not inspiring other exciting thoughts. It is a decent trap song—nothing more and nothing less.
11. “Something I’m Not”
Swae and Slim try switching it up with a more melodic cut on “Something I’m Not.” The production and flows they give us on this song remind me of Rod Wave’s sound. How does this turn out for them? It turned out passable. The Rod Wave comparison is as high of a compliment as I can imagine. I do mean that as a compliment because this is a good track. Despite some of the not-so-great lines from the duo, this is one of the better songs on the record. Give it a shot if that sounds up your alley.
“Torpedo” is the technical lead single for Sremm 4 Life, released on December 30, 2022. This song is my favorite of the two singles dropped in the lead-up for the album. The slick production for this one can be all thanks to Sonny Digital. He throws it back on this one to that mid-2010s trap sound that would compliment artists like Travis Scott or Migos. The boys slide on it well too. When I first heard this, I instantly added it to my hype trap playlist. There is the weird bar, such as, “I’m testin the fish,” but I am starting to think it is customary with Rae Sremmurd now. Besides that, I highly recommend checking this one out.
13. “Diamonds Dancing”
With our penultimate track, “Diamonds Dancing,” the boys switch it up by trying to fight the beat. For one reason or another, Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee rap on this song like they could barely hear the rhythm they were rapping over. It almost sounds like this song is an open-verse freestyle with two-minute runtime. The song breezes by without doing much of anything, so it is hard to lock down my thoughts. After listening to the song several times, the most that stick with me is the ghostly humming sound of the instrumental.
14. “ADHD Anthem (2 Many Emotions)”
Lastly, we have another switch-up in the experimental track “ADHD Anthem (2 Many Emotions).” Swae and Jxmmi decide to hop on a Ronny J rage beat akin to the likes of Yeat or Trippie Redd. They use this switch-up to try and be a bit more open and emotional. If you did not guess from the title, the boys open up about their struggles with mental health and ADHD. This experiment works much better than their attempts with “Leans Gone Cold.” Although one issue is that Slim Jxmmi does not fit this style as well as Swae Lee. He does his best, but his singing does not meld as well—still, it is one of the better cuts here.
Sremm 4 Life is, at best, a huge mixed bag of an album. I tried my best not to be negative throughout the review, but some rough songs made it hard. A lot more than I would have liked there to be. The hooks could be stronger, the boys do not do much with their verses, and the production leaves much to be desired. Since they gave so much time and effort into this one, I hoped it would be on the same level or exceed their last record. That is not to say there are not some highlights on the record. But as a whole, the project is a step down.
I still recommend you give it a listen and decide for yourself! Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the review, and I hope you enjoy the album more than I did.